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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 37 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

The birthday was more his mother's idea, than his own...

Arthur Steiner Davion could have gone today with something quiet and small. A meal with his brothers and sisters, maybe a cake, and holovids, or an outing with Uncle Ardan to hike the passes, or maybe a visit to the spaceport to count ships.

Nothing big. Certainly nothing that requires him to wear a small model of the Uniform of the AFFC, with 'toy' medals and badges and an itchy collar.

He can't even play in this.

He has to keep it clean.

...and mind his manners. Momma said so. But the invited list doesn't really have anyone he KNOWS, beyond knowing they're all Nobles from 'good families' on the Lyran side.

I have to be nice, because I don't want people to think I'm stuck-up. It was a burden for a boy who just wants to go out and play, or better yet, go out and watch the spaceships and remember the history stories about the pioneers and the first colonists, and the breaking away from old Terra.

He had the urge to be a brat...but he fought it down. Victor wouldn't like it and neither would Peter or Katrina, and being a brat to Yvonne would be bad-he loved his little sister and hated it when someone made her cry.

"Can I come?" Yvonne asked.

"Yeah!" Arthur said, "Of course you can. It's going to be a buncha strangers anyway, and we have to wear nice clothes and can't do any fun things on our own! but if anyone's mean to you, I'll beat them up." he promised with the sincerity only a ten year old boy can have for a little sister who is never a brat or mean to him at all.

"Arthur! You might want to come see this!" His Mother called from her office.

What now?? "Cming mother..."

He entered.

She had the big holodesk lit up. "What is it?"

"Tell me." Melissa urged. "What are we seeing?"

"That's a Lola Two with some customized fittings and paint." Arthur recited, "Originally a Terran design, Lola Twos were exported to the member state militaries or converted to M-5 Caspars...I don't recognize the recording."

"That's because this isn't a recording." his mother told him. "that one, is home-ported in the Kowloon system, and serves a loyal family."

"But...Warships are extinct..?" he asked, confused.

"Not all of them, and not extinct." Melissa told him, "We are, after all, running new corvettes in the Naval branch...and this one, was restored by loyal vassals. She's in private hands, but she's one hundred percent Lyran in every way that matters...and she's bringing one of your guests."

"Can I go see it?"

"You should ask Elizabeth Ngo." Melissa said, "it is, after all, her decision whether to let you aboard her ship, not mine, though I can influence her if you're very good next week at the party."

Temptation flared in blazing fires in his mind, Arthur nodded mutely, studying the six hundred eighty thousand ton vessel. I want to see it in real, I want to touch it!!

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